Eleven years ago today, God gave us a very special blessing. We named her Faith, and that was before we knew how much her name fit. Faith has Turner Syndrome. This is a chromosomal abnormality that affects only girls. Only 1-2% of babies conceived with Turner Syndrome live to be born, and only around 5% of them survive the first year. In fact, if it is discovered during pregnancy, most doctors would tell you to abort. (which we would never do under any circumstances) Many believe that girls with this can’t live. We even had a nurse shocked to hear from a friend of ours that Faith had Turner Syndrome. She thought that had to be wrong, because they don’t survive. Well, she was the one who was wrong.
Let me tell you a little about our Faith. She is certainly one special girl! Most of the time, there is no indication that she has Turner Syndrome. She is smart, funny, and brave. She is also incredibly loving. She makes friends everywhere! She knows how to encourage and pray for others. In fact I have had people specifically ask if we could have Faith pray for them. She does of course. She is not upset about having Turner Syndrome. She says she is happy the way she is. She doesn’t mind being smaller than all of her friends (Girls with Turner Syndrome reach an average height of 4’8″). She does mind the extra doctor appointments, especially since she doesn’t feel like anything is wrong with her. She goes through them like a champ though! (The only one we struggle with is the heart doctor.)
So, why do I think she is like this? (the brave and happy part) I think it is because we don’t treat her like anything is wrong with her or different about her. She knows all about Turner Syndrome, but it doesn’t define her. When we come across problems, we come up with solutions to help her instead of just telling her she can’t due to her condition-things like lowering hanging bars and keeping some cups in a lower cupboard. We don’t compare her to other children. I don’t care if she does things at the same time other kids do. She is her, and has no need to be on the same plan to grow up as anyone else.
Over the years, I have seen many parents that get super stressed out if their child isn’t reaching developmental milestones at the “right” time. How can there be a “right” or a “wrong” time? Isn’t the right time the time when they reach it? These parents are so upset that something may be wrong with their child. So, my question to them would be, “What will that change?” If you have a diagnosis, will it make you love them more or less? Will you do anything differently? Will you be disappointed that your child isn’t perfect?
The Lord didn’t treat anyone differently based on the things that were wrong with them, and let’s face it, we all have something wrong with us. Did he love the leper or the lame less? No! Also, He didn’t excuse behavior or allow people to not reach their potential. When Jesus felt that someone was ready, he would forgive their sins and then tell them to get up. He knew that they were at the point of readiness. He also didn’t heal everyone he saw. The Bible says that many were healed, not all. Why? Maybe they were not ready. They hadn’t reached that developmental milestone yet. Jesus didn’t get stressed out over that. He loved people right where they were.
Do we? Do we love our children right where they are? Even if they are the ones climbing the walls in the doctors office? What if they are slow to walk or talk? (after 4 kids, I was hoping the youngest would never walk or talk) We should react like Jesus. Wait until they are ready, and then help them to achieve whatever it is they are reaching for. We should love each child like the blessing from God that they are.